Since 2005, Mars' exploration rover named Opportunity has been collecting information on the planet and is set to do a walkabout survey of the Mars' Marathon Valley to prepare for its seventh winter, according to NASA. There is no hibernation for this rover as it will pursue hitting the slopes soon so that it can better prepare for its 2020 mission.
Opportunity will start the quest on the last half of October as its operators will do a survey of Marathon Valley. They will conduct the valley's measurements and move toward its southern part. When spring comes again, it will go back to the valley floor to get more details on finding and studying outcrops that host clay minerals.
The new rover has been taking panoramic pics of the red planet for years and investigating rock targets in the western part of the Marathon valley since July. The Mars' valley cuts downhill starting from west to east about 300 yards or metres going through the west of the Endeavour Crater. The valley has been considered a significant destination due to its clay minerals called smectites which evolve under wetter conditions compared to the other rocks. Opportunity uses these rocks to study about the history of environmental changes.
The new nuclear-powered rover is set to launch in 2020 and NASA expects it to be more efficient than the previous rover, Curiosity. Curiosity is the third rover that has also been exploring the red planet since 2012.
Opportunity will explore a specific geographically diverse spot with the hopes of seeing traces of past life. It will also gather some Mars samples, drop them at a selected point and which will be taken by another mission so that they can be brought to earth, according to Space.com.